Childhood days are the most memorable in everyone’s life, irrespective of which school we studied or how we studied. Every memory of the school is cherished. Having studied in a convent school, everything was very orderly in my life. The school environment had inculcated in me a sense of discipline, commitment and love for studies.

I never believed in topping the class, but always wanted to excel in whatever I took up. One thing I always wanted during my school life was the trophies. The main drawback for me was that I was not into sports; I typically hated sports and never tried my hand on it; however being good in cultural items I managed to bag lots of certificates but never a trophy.

So I badly wanted to get a trophy as I was tired of certificates and medals and I very well knew that my chances of getting one had literally come to an end because I was in the last phase of my school studies. Just then I was informed that I had received the 8th rank in Bangalore Diocese catechism exams. This was an exam conducted for catholic students all over Bangalore. I was happy about my achievement, but I was even happier because I had seen, my seniors who had passed these exams with rank were given trophies by the school.

I was extremely happy; finally I would get a trophy. I was waiting eagerly for the day. I had informed my parents and cousins. I had cleared the showcase; I had made space between all my medals and a few small cups to place my beautiful trophy.

Finally the day arrived. I saw to it that my uniform was perfectly ironed; I was dressed to the occasion. I sat in the auditorium in the front row (we were asked to) and was waiting for all the speeches to get over. At the end the names were announced and each one who excelled in different fields were gifted a beautiful trophy, I could not take my eyes off the trophy. It was a glass trophy with the name of the school etched on it. Everyone received the trophy and at the end they announced that the students who received ranks in catechism would be felicitated. I was shaken to see that when I went on the stage to receive the trophy I was given a gift wrapped in golden paper rather than a trophy. I was shocked and was sad. This could not happen. All the years they had given them trophies; why had they given a gift this year, I was in tears.

Taking the gift I sadly walked towards my class after the function. While all were busy congratulating me, the Sister who had taught us catechism came forward and wished me and told me that there was a beautiful present inside and she told me that I would keep that present forever.

I was fuming with anger; I knew it was some book and I didn’t want to open it. I had planned to throw it and keep only the certificate. I was not even interested to open it. I kept that in my bag and the entire day I was crying without letting others notice it. I came home and took the gift to throw it. When my mom enquired what the gift was, I did not want to open it. But still I didn not want to show how desperate I was about the trophy.

I reluctantly opened the gift and was taken aback to see a Holy Bible. I was in dilemma. I did not know what to do. Being a religious person I knew I had to respect it. Since we already had a bible I placed it inside. For many days I was angry. I was angry at the school, the management and everyone for gifting me a Bible rather than a trophy.

After many years, I almost forgot about the incident and the Bible. One day when, due to some issues, I had problems in college and tiff in the house, I sat quietly and pulled my drawer to remove my dairy; just then my eyes fell on this bible. It was neat and clean, almost not touched for 7 years. Something in me urged me to take it out. I have been reading the bible, not that it was the first time I was reading it. I took this bible and when I opened it, I was happy to read a paragraph congratulating me for securing the rank. After 7 years I had read the message, I was happy. I was motivated.

Slowly everyday night I began to read my Bible, it became my personal Bible. I began underlining the words that touched me. It became my best friend over the years. Today almost after 13 years I still have the Bible. I read it. Whenever I am down, demotivated, frustrated and angry, the gift which once I hated has become my greatest pillar of support.

Even today when I think about the incident, I realize how foolish I was to run behind something so materialistic. After that I went on to win many trophies including a Gold Medal, but nothing gives me comfort as much as the Bible does. All the medals and certificate lie behind.

Today I realize the importance of the Gift I received; if then I would have got a trophy it would be laying in the show case with no use. But the Bible made a lot of difference to my life.

Most of us fume when we receive what we never wanted, but maybe we should remember that God gives us what we actually need and deserve. Whatever we receive will definitely help us in the future without our knowledge. No gift is useless.

Sonal Lobo